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Predrag Savić, Founder, Director and Chairman of the School Board of Secondary School Kosta Cukić

School Tailored to the Child

The Kosta Cukić Secondary School and Private Mihailo Pupin Primary School have inherited the best traditions of education, which they combine with the latest achievements in expert and pedagogical work with children

Attractive and comfortable premises and state-of-the-art technologies, combined with modern teaching methods and curricula, openness, an individual approach and care for each individual pupil, give rise to the special atmosphere of intimacy that defines a good school. And Mr Predrag Savić explains why that is important in this interview.

As an economics graduate, what motivated you to enter the education sector?

— My reasons weren’t professional – one doesn’t enter the education sector because of the potential to generate great profits. My decision was personal and motivated by a desire to help the school at which two of my children were then being educated.

The Kosta Cukić Secondary School began operating a full 20 years ago, with the aim of becoming a European-style school with the highest educational standards through a serious and high-quality curriculum. My initial intention was to use my expertise to reinvigorate and improve a system that had “stumbled”, and I then realised, once my youngest daughter had also graduated, that I am permanently attached to the school and that this work brings completely new meaning to my life.

Given that you had no competition when you started, what guided you in defining the curriculum and operational method?

— It’s true that there was very little competition initially. We were looking to create a concept tailored to the young people who were then enrolling in secondary school. The foundation was, and remains, the national curriculum prescribed by the Ministry of Education, to which we added everything that represents the legacy of our school today. We added an individual approach, care for each individual pupil and state-of-the-art technologies combined with modern teaching methods, openness and programmes that are specially adapted for pupils coming from abroad – from China, Russia, Norway etc. – as well as a special programme intended for pupils who deal, seriously and with commitment, with different sports that they want to one day compete in professionally.

How many education profiles do you have and which of them are the most popular?

— Apart from the two aforementioned programmes – created for talented athletes and international students – we also have seven official course programmes (general gymnasium high school studies; gymnasium high school for children with special abilities in IT; gymnasium high school for audio-visual and performing arts, economic technician, legal/business technician, tourist technician and tourism organiser). When it comes to the popularity of certain course programmes, it varies because there are trends – just as there are in everything else in the lives of young people. It currently seems as though there is slightly more interest in gymnasium high school course programmes (IT and general studies), but, as I say, perhaps next year everyone will have a desire to study economics!

Does contemporary schooling imply modern school premises and modern teaching resources?

— It is my belief that order around us also creates order within us! That’s why we came up with premises that are attractive, orderly, functional and stimulating, ad equipped with the latest teaching resources! Modern teaching resources are very important today, especially in the system of secondary education.

Computers, tablets, standard interactive whiteboards, LCD and Android TVs, projectors and video beams bring dynamism to the teaching process, giving the impression that the pupils master the intended material easier and quicker, which automatically leads to teachers being satisfied, as they see the payoff from the effort that they constantly exert in preparatory work.

When it comes to the reasons parents enrol their children in your school, they most often cite small classes, single-shift and care for each individual pupil. Is that focus on caring for the children as individuals that’s crucial?

— If you want to have a good school, everything is crucial – from a well-organised timetable and schedule, all the way to attractive excursions! However, I would agree that caring, but really caring about the children, is what makes the difference. The credit for that care for the children, which also creates a special atmosphere of intimacy, belongs to the teachers and expert associates. I merely adapted to it. I support and help my colleagues and personally enjoy that togetherness.

I expect the Mihajlo Pupin private school to be among the most prestigious primary schools in Serbia and beyond

In order to demonstrate this and for it not to merely be words on paper, I invite you and all the readers of your esteemed magazine to visit our school and convince themselves of the veracity of everything I’ve said.

Your daughter is following in your footsteps. How do you view her endeavour?

— Leading by example… I really believe in that expression.

It is true that my eldest daughter is this year launching the Mihajlo Pupin Private Primary School. She channelled into it everything that she has been able to learn through our approach to education, in which the wellbeing of pupils, fundamental care for them and a high-quality work plan are actually what ultimately make a difference on the market and are inextricable parts of our DNA.

A lot of that is probably also in our family relationships and the values that I tried to pass on. On the one hand, I insisted on education and developing in my children a love for school and learning, while on the other hand they were able to witness my initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, and to learn to take action immediately when they have a vision and a desire to improve and fix something in society.

I’m extremely proud of my Ivana; of the amount of care and dedication with which she took on this endeavour and the extent to which she strives every day, through every segment of work and the organisation of school activities, to advance the concept of basic education in our country. I can already state with certainty that I expect the Mihajlo Pupin Private School to be among the most prestigious primary schools in Serbia and beyond.

What is the key advantage of this school and why do you have such belief in its future success?

— I could single out multiple factors: a working method that implies synchronising the regular, mandatory curriculum and numerous extracurricular activities in order to encourage the greater involvement of pupils in the school’s programmes and in building a positive attitude towards school and learning. Then there’s the school’s outstanding teaching staff, as confirmed by the fact that the best teachers in Serbia have been selected to work with the children.

I must also emphasise the fact that the Mihajlo Pupin Private Primary School has inherited the best traditions of education and combines them with the latest achievements in expert and pedagogical work with children. And finally, I’m particularly proud of Ivana because of her vision in launching a school that strives to be an extension of the home, because education is most successful when it is rooted in love, understanding and respect for cultural heritage.

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